I went to Houston TechFest, today. If you stopped by my impromptu lunch-time presentation, I mentioned each of these topics:

But, not a presenter

For the first year, instead of presenting at the Houston TechFest, I sponsored it. Just me as my company curtissimo. I found an interesting reaction to my sponsorship as I sat with @bryanray in my unadorned booth:


That’s right. Most people came by to ask what I was selling. Or what I was trying to get from them. They didn’t understand that I just wanted to sponsor the TechFest because I really appreciate Houston TechFest.

And, now, I wonder about the implications of this. It seems to me that, for whatever reason, something this excellent only gets sponsored by companies trying to sell you something. And, that kind of sucks.

Conferences for and by the attendees or community

It seems that the commercialization of the conference has finally reached a point where we don’t even question the setup. Companies have the power to sponsor and like on television, you have to endure the advertisements to get fresh, new content. (Or, old, stale content. Or stream-of-consciousness content, if you attend my presentations.)

Houston TechFest has always been this way. It’s not good or bad, it’s just the way it is. It’s quite a good list of companies.

Improving Enterprises seems to sponsor the crap out of the agile conference in Houston.

Some years ago, alt.net had an open spaces conference. It ran for two years (in the Microsoft office without Microsoft shilling) and just petered out.

Only the user groups seem somewhat immune to the corporate marketing saturation.

I guess that’s the way it is…

If TechFest is to remain free to attendees. Unless we, as a community, band together to help sponsor these events. Just adding crap up in my head, it seems that Houston TechFest may cost around $40,000 per year. What if 100 of us, the members of the Houston tech community, could donate $100 toward the cause of helping others come together to learn about the direction of IT.

Then, the tables in the hallway could contain… whatever. Just not commercials.

We could put on the PBS of conferences. That would rock.